Gov. Bill Haslam gave a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 16th laying out a couple of proposals for education which included making it more difficult for teachers to gain tenure and to allow anyone to attend charter schools.

We at TNSC were deeply disappointed. Granted Haslam did not run as an education reformer; however, education in Tennessee needs a reformer with courage and conviction and an understanding that NOW is the time to replace the broken government run model with a free market system based on vouchers. If you have taken time to read our postings thus far you should be getting a better understanding of why free markets and vouchers are the best models to educated children in a safe environment providing for each child’s unique needs.


Under Haslam’s proposal, tenure would only be granted to teachers whose scores rank in the top two of five evaluation tiers in consecutive years. Tenured teachers could revert to probationary status if they rank in the bottom two tiers for two straight years. Haslam has said the current system that grants tenure to almost all teachers after three years is too easy. (Read More Here)

The days of tenure (and pensions) are over. It is extremely rare, if not impossible to find a private, free market company which provides tenure or pensions. They are just not sustainable. Good teachers don’t need tenure-only bad, lazy or dangerous teachers need tenure.


The governor said his proposals would still give local school districts control over authorizing charter schools, but the state would lift a cap on how many can operate. Anybody could enroll in charter schools unless they get overfilled, in which case priority would be given to children currently eligible for charter schools, like those attending failing schools or those from poor families. (Read More Here)

Charter schools are great, but the reason they are great is they work unencumbered, free to meet the needs of their customers (children), for less taxpayer money, in an environment where they must compete and succeed or be closed down, very much unlike a normal public school and very much like the free market.


Some might say this is not teacher-friendly…(Read More Here)

Economies are always changing. That’s a fact. I’m sure the buggy makers didn’t think it was “fair or friendly to their way of life” to be replaced by auto makers. It’s not fair that Obama has the ability to send his children to elite private schools in DC while ending the DC voucher system that was an unqualified success. That my, friend isn’t fair. It’s not fair to condemn children to failing or dangerous schools because the unions fight any change regardless how many times something has been proven successful. Besides, teachers would benefit just as much as the children in a free market/voucher education system. The pay and opportunities for the good teachers would expand alongside the expanding choices for the parents and students.

“…merit-based pay for teachers can improve student test scores… Further, many of the criticisms of merit pay programs simply have not proven true…” Teachers didn’t report any of the problems that opponents have predicted would result from performance pay: a divisive school atmosphere, neglect of low-performing students, and favoritism. (Read More Here)

A Republican-backed bill to end TEA collective bargaining advanced along party lines, but a measure to change board selection for the teachers’ $32 billion state retirement fund was deferred until Wednesday. (Read More Here)

Public sector collective bargaining is bankrupting states and holding their communities hostage. All government unions do is redistribute more tax dollars from taxpayers to unions.  Essentially, public sector unions collect dues which they turn around and use to elect their bosses, politicians, who are then beholden to the union and to meeting the union demands in order to get reelected. There just isn’t a competing lobbying force to demand politicians stand up for the needs of the children over the demands of the unions.

“When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”—Albert Shanker, past president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Further, a public sector union strike holds the community hostage. It is not like in the private sector where if one business is on strike we can simply choose their competitor. Teachers should all be treated and evaluated as individuals and professionals. Those who are great at their job will succeed and should be compensated accordingly. Those who are incapable of doing the job should be forced to find new employment. We only have one opportunity to educate our children and cannot squander their opportunity because unions make it impossible to get rid of the dead weight and sometime downright dangerous teachers.

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